• Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:57 pm

March 4, 1971: Radio, TV renamed, join struggle for freedom

  • Published at 12:09 am March 4th, 2021
Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra
Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra Collected

Four-day strike continues across East Pakistan

The state-run Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan in Dhaka were renamed Dhaka Television and Dhaka Betar Kendra on March 4, 1971 as the non-cooperation movement launched by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gained momentum.

Radio and television artists announced that they would not work on programs for Pakistan as long as the people and students of the country (the then East Pakistan) were involved in the struggle.

The development came amid an ongoing countrywide strike, from 6am to 2pm, which caused the civil administration in the province to completely collapse.

During the strike on the day, six people were martyred in firing by the army in Khulna, while the death toll in Chittagong rose to 121. The strike began on March 3 when Bangabandhu called for a four-day shutdown protesting repression by the Pakistani junta. 

After Bangabandhu's call on March 3, hundreds of men, women and students waited for hours to voluntarily donate blood to the Blood Bank of Dhaka Medical College Hospital to save the lives of heroic citizens shot in the course of the movement.

Sheikh Mujib congratulated the people for continuing the strike and asked government and non-government offices, where employees had not received salaries, to operate from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm to disburse salaries during the subsequent two days of strike.

Issuing a statement, Bangabandhu said that no nation had ever been liberated without making extreme sacrifices. 

According to US Embassy archives, Mujib admitted to several foreign correspondents “off the record” that he would make a statement equivalent to independence for East Pakistan on Sunday (March 7). 

He did, however, go on to say that the East and West wings should draft their respective constitutions and thereafter discussions over the form of linkage could take place.

“At least one Pakistani air force C-130 has been seen flying into Dacca and there are recurrent reports of forces being flown into Dacca via the Pakistani commercial airline and of the movement of troops from the West via ship….It is known that there is pressure from some elements in the military to make a quick repressive strike against the East Pakistani leaders in hopes of cowing them and the rest of the province.”

On March 4, People’s Party Chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at a press conference in Karachi said that to contain anger in the country, his party would try its best to meet the Six-Point demand.

On the same day, Lt Gen Sahibzada Yaqub Khan stepped down as martial law administrator of East Pakistan. General Tikka Khan took over. 

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